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The Boeing B-56 was a proposal for a re-engined version of the United States jet-powered medium bomber aircraft, the B-47 Stratojet. The original designation for this modification was YB-47C.

Design and development

The B-47 was equipped with six J-47 turbojets, each rated at 5,200 pounds thrust. The engines were mounted in four nacelles slung from the high wing, with two engines in the inboard pod and one engine in the outboard nacelle. To reduce complexity and increase commonality, it was proposed that a higher-rated engine be selected such that one engine could be mounted in each nacelle.

The Allison J35 turbojet engine was being developed during the late 1940s, and it was provisionally rated at 9700 pounds (with afterburner) or 8500 pounds thrust without AB. Thus 4 * 8500 = 34,000 pounds using that engine, as compared to 6 * 5200 = 31,200 pounds in the production B-47. So the conversion would be lighter, simpler and more powerful.[1]

A contract was signed with Boeing in January 1950, calling for rework of one aircraft. A B-47B-20-BW (s/n 50-082) was earmarked for the conversion. The date for first flight was projected as April 1951.[2]

A combination of delays and less-than-expected performance of the J35 led to the consideration of other engines. The Allison J71 was proposed[1], however problems with this engine meant that this was not feasible for the by-then redesignated B-56A. The Pratt & Whitney J57, eventually rated at 17,000 pounds thrust, was also considered, but that engine was still in development, and the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, which was being concurrently developed (first flight was April 1952), had priority for this engine.

The B-56 was canceled in December 1952 before conversion of the prototype was started.However,in the late nineteen sixties a fully functional B-56 was in use at the El Centro NAF. This aircraft was used for egress systems test and development.

References

  1. ^ a b Jones, Lloyd S.: U.S. Bombers: B1-B70, Aero Publishers, Inc., 1969. LCCN 62-15969
  2. ^ National Museum fact sheet Boeing B-56A

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